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Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. tours Harford vaccine site with Gov. Hogan, encourages Marylanders to get their shot

If Maryland residents have grown tired of hearing Gov. Larry Hogan encouraging citizens to get vaccinated against coronavirus, take it from Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr., who had much of the same to say when he joined the governor and other officials Wednesday for a tour of the mass vaccination site at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.

Ripken, who owns the minor league Aberdeen IronBirds team that plays at the stadium, said he was happy to help the vaccine effort there and encouraged more people to get their COVID shot.

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While walking through the tents, several clinic workers jumped at the opportunity to get Ripken to sign a baseball and Orioles hats, which he happily did. But Ripken was there with a message: Marylanders need to get vaccinated.

The process is quick, easy and — for those getting their shot at the stadium — conveniently located off I-95, the baseball Hall of Famer said.

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“We still cannot stop; we still need to get everyone vaccinated,” he said.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, left, talks with Cal Ripken Jr., center, and Governor Larry Hogan, right, as they and others tour the mass vaccination site at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen Wednesday, May 5, 2021.
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, left, talks with Cal Ripken Jr., center, and Governor Larry Hogan, right, as they and others tour the mass vaccination site at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

The continued push comes as Hogan announced that any of the 13 mass vaccination clinics in the state will be open to walk-ins for eligible Marylanders, no appointment required. Vaccine seekers can still get an appointment to guarantee a spot.

“We are not through this yet, we have just got to get those last few people vaccinated,” Hogan said. “Our goal is to try to get these shots done, wind down these mass vax sites and to get everybody who wants a shot to get one.”

Hospitalizations are dropping, the governor said, as is the positivity rate and cases per 100,000 people as the state rounded the corner of 5 million total vaccinations given.

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Periodic cheers and whoops of encouragement went up from the clinic’s workers as cars rolled through the tents set up in the parking lot or Ripken Stadium. They cheered for birthdays, people who were apprehensively getting the shot and other occasions to keep spirits high. Hogan joined in one cheer.

“Everybody who has not gotten their vaccine needs to come here, hang out with Cal Ripken,” he joked.

County Executive Barry Glassman thanked the governor, health department and the Ripken family for the clinic and said he placed a pre-recorded call to county residents to remind them that the vaccination site at the stadium was open.

About 34% of Harford County residents have had both shots, Glassman said, and figures from the Harford County Health Department show about 46% have received at least their first shot.

County Health Officer David Bishai said he was grateful to have the mass vaccination clinic, but more yet need to get their shot. He called for doctors to spread the word about the vaccine to their patients.

“We have asked all of the doctors in Harford County, all of the health providers, therapists, even the dentist ... there is no [better] health advice you can give, doctors, than to tell your patient ‘go get vaccinated,’” he said. “This is the best thing we can do for our health right now.”

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